When practice is just an Illusion stacked on another illusion

The eyes don’t say, “Sure we’re lower, but we see more.”

The eyebrows don’t reply, “Sure we don’t see anything, but we are higher up.”

Living out the buddha-dharma means fulfilling your function completely without knowing that you’re doing it. A mountain doesn’t know it’s tall. The sea doesn’t know it’s wide and deep. Each and every thing in the universe is active without knowing it.

The bird’s singing and the flower’s laughter appear naturally, completely independent from the person sitting in zazen at the foot of the cliff.


The bird doesn’t sing in honor of the person in zazen. The flower doesn’t blossom to amaze the person with her beauty. In exactly the same way, the person doesn’t sit in zazen in order to get satori. Every single being simply realizes the self, through the self, for the self.

~ Sawaki Kodo

Zen doesn’t insist on a negative view of intellectualizing practice.  It simply insists that we look past the explainations and thoughts to hit the root of the matter:  To solve our Great Matter.  The great masters solved their Great Matter and wrote about it. Zen simply insists that we don’t make the mistake of thinking that our matter is the same or different from anyone else’s – comparisons are worthless, there is no competition. 

Resting our practice on the stories of a Zen Master is like writing an autobiography by copying someone else’s life – an illusion stacked upon an illusion.  A birdsong imitated by human lips.

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